Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tijana Milosevic

Tijana Milosevic is a Serbian violinist and teacher born on March 1, 1978.  She is the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Belgrade Philharmonic.  She is also the only concertmaster – and perhaps the only violinist in history – to pose nude for Playboy magazine.  The Belgrade Philharmonic has been described as Serbia’s “cult”orchestra.  Though the orchestra itself is 90 years old, the average age of the 96 musicians is only 35.  When you visit the orchestra’s website, you’ll have an understanding of what makes this orchestra work so well – it is exciting, stimulating, and imaginative.  As Milosevic’s historic and unafraid entry into the pages of Playboy indicate, the orchestra does not shy away from provocative marketing.  In the U.S., Milosevic might have gotten fired for doing something so daring.  
Tijana Milosevic began her violin studies at age 4.  By age 15, she had been admitted into the Belgrade School of Music.  She studied with, among others, violin pedagogue Dejan Mihailovic.  After graduation, she further studied in New York with Dorothy Delay and Lewis Kaplan at the Juilliard School of Music.  Milosevic also participated in master classes with Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell.  Soon thereafter and for a brief time she was assistant concertmaster of the Athens Camerata under Neville Marriner, the famous British conductor.  At age 20, she was appointed concertmaster of the Belgrade Philharmonic.  Milosevic has already recorded several CDs and performed with various well-known artists including Maxim Vengerov, Zubin Mehta, Hagai Shaham, Sarah Chang, and Kurt Masur.  
At the time that she appeared on Playboy, Milosevic caused a scandal in the classical music world, even though the nude profile was, in my view, quite artistic.  When pianist Yuja Wang appeared on stage wearing a mini dress (as shown on the bottom photo at left), she caused a scandal too.  But she was on stage, not doing a photo shoot for a fashion or a gentleman’s magazine.  The question arises whether a female concert artist should ever appear in very short and showy attire (or no attire at all) and when and where.  Opinions will vary, of course, but I think Milosevic’s nude pictorial in Playboy is far more appropriate than Yuja Wang’s on the stage since Wang’s short dress is very distracting during performance - Milosevic wears professional concert dress in performance.  It’s an issue about which you will have to decide for yourself.  
Here is one of Milosevic’s YouTube videos of a work for violin and piano by Serbian composer Aleksandra Dokic - it is beautifully played.  Until the very end, one cannot tell that it is a live recording.  Of herself and the orchestra Milosevic says: “I take special pride in my common sense, adamantly standing between the Old Russian School and the Juilliard – the American school.  I am proud of my orchestra and the energy we radiate in our creative trance.”  Her violin is a 1910 Enrico Rocca (1847-1915), a relatively modern violin.  

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